Interview Ready?

As with many different performance moments, when it comes to interviews, there’s a series of questions that fly through our minds, demanding answers and often resulting in an uncomfortable state of nervousness and worry.

The absence of answers to the questions is often the most important hurdle to overcome. Our sense that we must have the right answer stops us settling on a helpful answer. The importance of the situation and what the interview will say about us, as a person, further raises the stakes.

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What goes on

The interview is understandably a very scary prospect for many people, but with the right preparation and outlook, you can develop a different relationship with interviews.

From the moment of hearing that an interview is going to take place, most people begin to focus on the finish line and so the questions follow:

  • “Will I get the role?”
  • “Will I get any surprise questions?”
  • “Are there any special qualities they’re really looking for?”
  • “What will they think if I can’t answer a question?”
  • “How good are the other candidates?”

These questions are all understandable, but they’re usually not helpful for getting in the best frame of mind for performing well in the interview and giving yourself the best chance of the success you’re after.

Although these questions aren’t always helpful, we do know that questions, with answers are often a great way of focusing preparation and making sure you feel as ready as possible for an interview.

For a greater interview performance, it’s important to start listening to the questions you’re asking yourself and then giving yourself answers that focus you back onto you, your track record, your personal qualities and things that you want to find out about yourself. By getting ready to perform in the interview by leading with your strengths and learning some important information about yourself, then you can put yourself in a great position to enjoy, rather than endure the process.

Five performance truths

  1. Most people experience ‘outcome-hijack’ in interviews, where the desire to know whether the outcome is going to be achieved means you spend most of your time feeling out of control and anchored to the future. Being in the moment and in control is far more helpful, so outcome-hijack needs to be minimised.
  2. You’re most likely to be successful in an interview if you can be yourself and do a great job of showing who you are and what you have to offer. To do this, you have to prepare yourself to be confident to be yourself. It’s all about preparation.
  3. Most people don’t practice enough for interviews. Whether you know the specific questions that you’re going to be asked, or not, doesn’t matter. You can do a lot of practice answering lots of questions in a way that shows you are confident, understand yourself and know what you have to offer and are looking to achieve.
  4. Spending time worrying about who else is being interviewed, how many other people are being interviewed and whether you’ll get any trick questions is understandable but ultimately a waste of energy. When it comes to great interviews, it’s all about the art of worrying about the right stuff.
  5. Being interviewed means you’ve qualified and are in with a good chance. If you don’t know why you’ve been selected, then chances are you’re not going to perform to your peak in the interview. So, why were you selected?

Three things to do

  1. Be ready to write down all of the questions that you know your mind is going to ask and see if these are likely to result in outcome hijack.
  2. Spend the time to really build a strong picture in your mind of all of the strengths you’ve developed in your career to date. Now is the time to update your foundation of confidence.
  3. Start recruiting a team of friends and colleagues who are going to be your interview question practice partners. Disciplined practice will be a key part of your preparation.